CRAN hosts public hearing on infrastructure sharing regulations
The Communications Regulatory of Authority of Namibia (CRAN) held a public hearing this week on regulation for the sharing of communication infrastructure.
The deliberations of the hearing will lead to the eventual finalising of important laws for the telecommunications and broadcasting sector.
“As the regulator, it is our responsibility to ensure efficient sharing and optimal utilisation of infrastructure to maximise efficiently on investment capital for much needed industry development that would benefit licensees and consumers,”said CRAN CEO, Festus Mbandeka.
According to Mbandeka this will lead to the consultation process on the matter that initially begun in July 2014 as the Communications Act requires dominant carriers to share infrastructure to promote fair competition.
CRAN has thus a crucial role to fulfil in putting the regulations in place by which telecommunications and broadcasting licensees and other stakeholders will engage with one another on infrastructure sharing
The Act further stipulates that “a dominant carrier must lease any infrastructure to other carrier/s or must allow the latter carrier to install telecommunications equipment on such infrastructure or to otherwise utilise such infrastructure” subject to some specific conditions.
However, Mbandeka said this duty is not solely placed on the shoulders of dominant licensees but is extended to any other person/utilities providing telecommunications service and or broadcasting services as well as or public utilities that provides, gas, water and electricity.
The Communications Act further requires that any conditions and charges concerning the sharing of infrastructure are reasonable, non-discriminatory and fairly apportioned among carriers and utilities.
“Therefore the primary purpose of the proposed legal framework is to provide for infrastructure sharing regime that would create fair competition and a levelled playing field between and amongst existing and future licensees,” he added.
Mbandeka said this will help at lowering barriers for new entrants and other industry players and ultimately enable the offering of a wider range of communications services to the consumers without the unnecessary duplication of infrastructure.
“It is therefore our belief that the increased competition will stimulate innovation and create much needed socio‐economic benefits to both consumers and the industry,” he added.
Meanwhile, the publication of the study document on infrastructure sharing and the compilation of the above study document took numerous issues and dynamics into consideration such as the size of the market, the vastness and disperse nature of the country and its population.